Where Match Men Light the World

When he was young, the journalist and parliamentarian Luigi Barzini (1874–1947), author of the classic biography of a people The Italians, wrote a children’s story titled “Le aavventure di Fiammiferino” (“The Adventures of the Little Match Man,” 1909). A layered tale that included impressions from Barzini’s newspaper coverage of the Russo-Japanese War, it centers on the life of a savvy little match, who like the trickster in primitive cultures, attempts to provide wisdom to those who deserve it.

“Le avventure de Fiam” (as it was known) was published in many editions, each illustrated by different artists. This version is by the Pinocchio illustrator Attilio Mussino. I am smitten by how so little visual information (a match is a match) was transformed into an empathetic cartoon character.

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For more Steven Heller, check out Inside the Business of Illustration—one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.

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